Alan Shepard

American astronaut, first American in space, lunar explorer (1923–1998)

Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (November 18, 1923July 21, 1998) (Rear Admiral, USN, Ret.) was the second person and the first American in space. He later commanded the Apollo 14 mission, and was the fifth person to walk on the moon.

Alan Shepard (1963)

Quotes edit

  • There's no question that all the generations got excited about the first flights, with Kennedy's inspiration to go to the moon, leaving the planet for the first time, and fortunately coming back.
  • There were similarities between these two incidents. The similarity was too much success … over-confidence and complacency, quite frankly.
  • I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It's fragile. That may not be obvious to a lot of folks, and it's tough that people are fighting each other here on Earth instead of trying to get together and live on this planet. We look pretty vulnerable in the darkness of space.
  • I guess those of us who have been with NASA … kind of understand the tremendous excitement and thrills and celebrations and national pride that went with the Apollo program is just something you're not going to create again, probably until we go to Mars.
    • James Endrst (July 8, 1994) "It's Been 25 Years Since We Took That Giant Leap For Mankind - Moon Odyssey", the Hartford Courant, p. B1.
Alan Shepard in 1970
  • We need a continuing presence in space.
  • The first one I hit pretty flush with one hand - went about 200 yards. And the second one I shanked, and it rolled into a crater about 40 yards away.
    • Describing his golf shots made on the Moon — reported in Philip Morgan (April 4, 1993) "'Boy, what a ride!' - On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard went from being a mere Navy commander to an American icon - the country's first man in space. That 15-minute, 28-second flight on Freedom 7 catapulted him into fame, searing his name and face into the collective imagination of a generation", The Tampa Tribune, p. 1.
  • I think about the personal accomplishment, but there's more of a sense of the grand achievement by all the people who could put this man on the moon.
    • The Denver Post staff (September 29, 1992) "Shepard still shoots for moon", The Denver Post, p. 1D.
  • I can hit it farther on the moon. But actually, my swing is better here on Earth.
    • The Orlando Sentinel staff (August 13, 1992) "Lunar-Golfer Shepard Takes Swings In Tourney", The Orlando Sentinel, p. A2.
  • If we had said 30 years ago that we were going to have only two incidents with casualties, we would have thought, 'Boy, that's great. To me, that indicates that the program has really exceeded what the early expectations were.
Shepard and Edgar Mitchell erect flag on lunar surface
  • No way that any astronaut worth his salt volunteered for the space program to become a hero. You don't select astronauts who want fame and fortune. You select them because they're the best test pilots in the world, they know it, and it's a personal challenge for them. And the astronauts of today are exactly the same.
    • Roxanne Roberts (May 4, 1991) "Blastoff to the Past - Tribute to America's First Men in Space", The Washington Post, p. D1.
  • I just wanted to be the first one to fly for America, not because I'd end up in the pages of history books.
  • This is the first time that astronauts of the first group have exhibited things that are personal and sentimental to them. We hope it will encourage youngsters to follow in our footsteps.
  • The same way people are now paying a couple thousand dollars to fly to other parts of the world, people will be paying $50,000 to spend a weekend on a space station.
    • Malcolm Howard (April 30, 1987) "The Day the Earth Stood Still - On Film, Anyway", The Record, p. B08.
  • We had some adverse conditions in the '60s, in the '70s and the '80s. The agency has risen above that in the past and will rise above that again.
    • Elizabeth Kastor (February 21, 1987) "The Flight of Memory - Mercury Reunion Honors Glenn's Voyage", The Washington Post, p. G1.
  • We're going to see passengers in space stations in 15 years, who will be able to buy a ticket and spend a weekend in space.

About edit

Shepard in Freedom 7 capsule before launch (1961)
  • Now that we've lost Alan Shepard, I can't help feeling that something is wrong with this picture; astronauts aren't supposed to grow old and leave this Earth forever. In our memories, they remain as Shepard was on that sunny Friday morning in May 1961, when he lay inside a tiny Mercury capsule ready to be hurled into space atop a Redstone booster.
  • With the passing of Alan Shepard, our nation has lost an outstanding patriot, one of its finest pilots -and I have lost a very close friend.
  • His service will always loom large in America's history. He is one of the great heroes of modern America.
  • His flight was a tremendous statement about tenacity, courage and brilliance. He crawled on top of that rocket that had never before flown into space with a person aboard, and he did it. That was an unbelievable act of courage.
    • NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin — reported in Mark Carreau (July 23, 1998) "Alan Shepard, first American in space, is dead at 74 - Space Age pioneer succumbs to lengthy illness in California", Houston Chronicle, p. A1.
  • One can make the argument that the success of the Shepard flight enabled the decision to go to the moon.
  • Alan Shepard was a great man, a great leader. We were pioneers. If you are an explorer, what more can you ask than to travel into space.
  • Certainly Shepard's flight was a major moment in American history and it clearly showed we were going to respond to the Soviet challenge.
    • Louis Friedman — reported in David Montero (July 23, 1998) "Alan B. Shepard: 1923-1998 - A man of the heavens First American in space, moon golfer dies in sleep", Ventura County Star, p. A01.

External links edit

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